- Length:10 to 16 inches
- Weight:11 ounces to 2 pounds
- Coloring: olive-green to dark
brown on back, lighter on sides and silvery white on underside
- Common Names: Eastern brook trout,
speckled trout, coaster, aurora trout, square-tail, sea trout
- Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron,
Ontario, and Superior
Brook trout are the only stream-dwelling trout
native to the Great Lakes. In search of clear, cool, and well-oxygenated water, they often
move out of streams and into the estuaries and bays of the Great Lakes. Those brook trout
that move into such areas are called "coasters."
All of these savory trout grow quickly on a
smorgasboard of living organisms -- everything from mayflies to salamanders. At its
optimum water temperature of 55 degress Farenheit, a coaster will eat half its weight in
minnows in one week.
Though natural populations of brook trout
reside in Lake Superior, Minnesota and Wisconsin are also stocking several thousand of
these fish each year to help maintain the "coaster" variety as well as the
stream-dwelling native. This benefits not only sport fishermen but predators like
kingfishers and mergansers as well.
Coasters weigh on average 2-3
pounds and are usually heavier than stream-dwelling brook trout. The largest brook trout
on record, caught on Ontario's Nipigon River, weighed 14.5 pounds. Whatever the size, the
brook is relatively easy to catch and has a sweet and delicate meat rivaling that of
whitefish and walleye.
In Lake Michigan, where alewives and other
forage fish are readily available, brook trout are spared predation by larger salmon.
However, kingfishers, mergansers and sport fishermen catch a good percentage of these
valued game fish during their three- to six-year lives.
Modest stocking programs in northern Lake
Michigan are helping to maintain the brook trout as a coaster as well as a stream-dwelling
native. In recent years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has stocked a new
strain of brook trout from Lake Nipigon in Ontario, Canada, to see if it will do better in
the Great Lakes than its more domesticated cousins.